UPDATE: Realism in Retrospect (1/31/06; journal volume)

full name / name of organization: 
Abby Coykendall
contact email: 

The _Journal of Narrative Theory_ (JNT) is still seeking submissions for an
upcoming special issue, "Realism in Retrospect." A reminder about the
deadline -- January 31, 2006 (not 2005) -- as well as an updated email
address are below.

Papers are welcome re-considering the study of realism in the face of new
historicism and other forms of interdisciplinary scholarship. Semiotics as
well as kindred critiques of realism have led, of course, to the large-scale
dismantling of the realistic canon (otherwise known as "the novel," Defoe,
Fielding, Richardson, et. al.) in the 1980's, spurring the vast expansion
and reinvigoration of novel studies and narrative theory that we know today.
Yet it would seem that realism has hardly disappeared as an index of
literary value; indeed, it might seem to have simply resurfaced all the more
intensely of late if we consider the current, by and large, historicist
direction of literary scholarship.

Where once a novel might be realistic insofar as it reflects the cultural
milieu and ideological concerns of its given readership, a novel has now
become a veritable cultural artifact, a rare archeological "find" from which
to extract historicist claims about the cultural context and even about the
transformation of that cultural context over time. In effect, the novel,
once a plausible portrait within a particular frame of reference, has now
become a synecdoche of sorts for the vast world beyond that frame of
reference. It would thus seem that realism, far from growing more humble,
has only gathered that much more hubris: for that which is most real about
the realistic novel has only become that much more extensive and expansive
in scope.

Moreover, with the formal aspects of literature all but disappearing as the
subject of literary criticism, that which is most essential in making
literature literature - the literary - would seem to be of less concern to
literary critics than history, than the real. Why this return to the real?
How does this late turn to history diverge from or hearken to the ghost of
realisms past?

Papers should concern these or related issues of realism as reflected in the
novel, narrative theory, or new historicism. Considerations of any genre or
any period of literature are welcome, from the eighteenth-century picaresque
to the contemporary postcolonial novel. Papers with a multicultural,
transatlantic, or global purview spanning beyond the British and American
canons are welcome as well.

Information about the journal can be found at the following address:


Contributors should follow the MLA style (5th edition), with footnotes kept
at a minimum and incorporated into the text where possible.

Send a copy of the submission by email attachment to each of the editors -
Abby Coykendall (acoykenda_at_emich.edu) and Audrey Jaffe
(audreyj1_at_sbcglobal.net) - by January 31, 2006.

Or, if you prefer, send two copies of the submission as well as a stamped
envelope to Abby Coykendall at the address below:

Department of English Language and Literature
Eastern Michigan University
612 Pray-Harrold Hall
Ypsilanti, MI 48197
Phone: (734) 487-0147
Fax: (734) 483-9744

Hard-copy submissions will not be returned unless a second stamped envelope
(self-addressed) is also enclosed. Overseas authors wishing to submit
disposable copies should indicate so in an accompanying letter.

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Received on Wed Mar 02 2005 - 10:53:11 EST